Congratulations on surviving another week of scary COVID-19 numbers, rising fuel prices, and watching Canadians oh-so-carefully prepare to open their border with the same hesitation you have when opening your RV fridge after a hard left turn. We’re so lucky we can escape the stress in our own rolling houses! We’ve got a lot to cover this week, so let’s get started right after we remind you how much we appreciate your help through voluntary contributions to keep this newsletter coming your way, and be sure to check out all of our other RV-related newsletters.
Sunday, August 8, 2021
Non-Members (advertising-supported) edition
Did you miss yesterday’s edition of the RV Travel Newsletter? If so, it’s here.
90 seconds of wisdom from our podcast host. Click to play.
Are RVs really in short supply? We have some answers
We at RVtravel.com continue to receive reports from traveling RVers that they are seeing “plenty” of new RVs sitting on dealer lots across the U.S. That anecdotal information runs counter to the official public statements of big RV manufacturers such as Thor Industries and Winnebago, as well as Camping World Holdings, the largest system of RV dealerships in the U.S. Thor and Winnebago are both reporting billions of dollars in order backlogs for “already sold” RVs. Both manufacturers said it could take months and up to a year or more to fulfill those back orders. So, what’s going on at the dealer lots? Find out here.
New service lets you know if cell service is available at a campground where you’re headed
Imagine if there were a source of information about the strength — even basic availability — of cell service at campgrounds and RV parks across America. How many times have you arrived at your destination and found zero bars on your phone? That normally means no phone service or data service for connecting hotspot devices. Well, we have excellent news for you!
Satellite broadband internet becoming a reality? Maybe!
SpaceX Starlink has placed more than 1,700 satellites into low-earth orbit and has a total of more than 12,000 satellites planned. Starlink’s mission is to bring high-speed internet to everyone on Earth, regardless of location. It looks like they are moving ahead with plans for a Starlink satellite mobile broadband service using a new antenna design. Continue reading.
Reader Diane C. suggests that part-time RVers book at the resort RV parks and leave the state parks to the full-timers. “Yes, we are finding the cheaper state park campgrounds are more crowded, but we are also finding many more resort-style places are opening up almost weekly. Sure they are more expensive but have more amenities. Maybe the part-timers will take those spots and leave the others for the full-time folks.” Read more thoughts from our readers on crowded campgrounds here.
This week’s podcast (#19)
Get it off your chest! Kate Doherty of RVTravel.com shares her list of gripes, pet peeves, and all that annoying stuff that gets on our nerves … or are you “that guy”? It’s your chance to vent, too. Go ahead, yell back at the phone or computer … just pick up after your dog, please. It’s all in good fun! We also cover news you can use, including a recall that could save your life.
Listen to a 40-second clip of the episode:
Today’s RV review…
In today’s review, industry insider Tony Barthel looks at the 2022 Grand Design Transcend Xplor 231RK. Tony says, “Overall, I like this floor plan for a lot of reasons. But then Grand Design has added some really slick features that make this even more of a grand design, to my way of thinking.” Read more.
Yesterday’s review: 2021 Heartland Big Country 3703RK Fifth Wheel
Last week’s reviews:
• 2022 Rockwood Geo Pro 20BHS Travel Trailer
• 2022 Alliance Avenue 32RLS Fifth Wheel
• Airstream Pottery Barn Special Edition Travel Trailer
• 2022 Cherokee Wolf Pup 14CC mighty tiny trailer
• 2021 Palomino Revolve EV1 – All-electric travel trailer
Read all other RV reviews by clicking here.
Tired of dragging along a big, heavy generator?
Why drag around a heavy generator and smelly gas cans if you only need extra power occasionally? Use your vehicle anywhere for portable power with a lightweight CarGenerator! Runs quietly, like your vehicle idling. Similar fuel consumption as a portable gas generator. Works just like the new Ford Pro Power (non-hybrid) onboard generator but using the vehicle you already own! Read Mike Sokol’s comparison of Ford onboard generator versus CarGenerator or learn more and get a special RVtravel.com discount at CarGenerator.com.
That was the RV week that was
August 1–7, 2021
Campground Views now has 400 virtual park tours. It took just 3 extra days, but Campground Views founder Mark Koep said his company has hit its August goal of having 400 virtual campground tours available online for Campground Views members. The 400 parks include Recreation.gov properties in Arizona, Utah, Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Washington, Nevada, California and Oregon. The video virtual tours allow campers to travel the roads of a campground, use their computer mouse to turn left or right, and even see if an individual campsite is currently available to rent. Campers can click on a green site marker to find out more about each site, and even go directly to the Recreation.gov reservation site to book. Find out more by clicking here.
Not clear sailing yet at Canadian border. If you’re thinking of pointing your RV north next week when the Canadian border opens up again for non-essential travel, you might want to stay tuned to the breaking news. Labor issues have several unions set to strike at Canadian airports, land borders and commercial shipping ports, and that could make the usual long lines at the border even longer. More than 9,000 Canada Border Service Agency employees would be included in the strike. They’ve been working without a contract for more than 3 years. The Canadian border is scheduled to open Monday, August 9, for non-essential travel from the U.S. But only fully vaccinated travelers will be allowed to cross, so have your vax card handy or you won’t be sampling your first plate of poutine.
Couple goes above and beyond, literally, to keep their RV dry. With the threat of flooding always a possibility, New Brunswick couple Paul and Tina Arthurs decided to put their RV that sits on their vacation property on stilts. Stilts made of a dozen telephone poles. The camper is now permanently in the air, with its tires sitting about eight feet off the ground. The Arthurs used a crane to place the camper on a cradle of telephone poles, high enough so floodwaters should not be a concern every spring. To read more, click here.
Biden gives electric vehicles a boost. President Biden signed an executive order Thursday setting a new target for electric vehicles. He wants half of all automobiles sold in the U.S. by 2030 to be of the zero-emissions variety. The order was part of a series of actions by the Biden Administration aimed at jump-starting a shift toward e-vehicles. The actions hinted at upcoming federal investments in programs to increase the number of charging stations and other needed infrastructure. A number of pickup truck manufacturers, including established companies such as Ford, Chevrolet, Dodge and Tesla, have all announced plans to bring units into production in 2022. The number of electric passenger vehicles, including SUVs, already in production has increased substantially in the past 3 years. All-electric motorized RVs are mostly still in development, but it’s likely that Biden’s announcement will generate new activity in the RV sector, too.
Proposed equine campground encourages guests to bring their horses along for a ride. There are preliminary plans to establish Geitner Homestead Equine Campground on a 10-acre parcel of Dave and Penny Geitner’s 97-acre farm in Door County, Wisconsin. The campground would sit adjacent to 70 acres where campers could ride their horses. Plans include 29 campsites, each with water and electrical hookup. Preliminary plans show that 20 of the 29 sites would have steel gate panel corrals equal to two 12-foot by 12-foot stalls for campers’ horses. Future plans include adding moveable, rustic cabins – without electric service or running water – for some of the sites. To learn more, click here.
Couple wins “Wheel of Fortune” Winnebago giveaway. Sometimes it pays to be lucky. Eddie and Joyce Hightower of Arkansas were the lucky winners of the Winnebago Solis 59P camper van. The two, married for 55 years, are self-proclaimed RV enthusiasts. Having recently donated their last motorhome to charity, they are elated to take home the brand-new Solis.The giveaway was part of “Wheel of Fortune’s” “National Parks” theme week. Nearly a million people entered the contest.
Angry citizens fail to kill planned RV park. A planned 52-site RV park in Spartanburg, SC, is still on track, despite the protests of several local citizens. Opponents pleaded their case to the Spartanburg County Council this week, but the Council declined to reverse the park’s approval, which had been granted earlier by the county’s Planning Commission. Opponents were told they’d have to take their appeal to Circuit Court.
Camp365 is a pop-up camper on steroids. Here’s another “good thing in a small package.” The Camp365 goes from its folded-up, compact form measuring 48 inches wide and 80 inches tall, to a towable cabin that can sleep a family of six. Fully expanded, Camp365 has a 144-inch by 96-inch base, with 96 square feet of living space and seven-and-a-half feet of headroom. The unloaded base trailer weight is 1,495 pounds, and the GVWR is 2,200 pounds. Odds are that the car, truck, or UTV with a standard Class 1 trailer hitch currently in your driveway can tow the Camp365. The trailer can also likely be stored in your garage. Read more about this magical invention here.
Used RV sale prices are starting to cool down. That word from market-watcher Black Book is that while auction prices rose in July, the rate has slowed. Black Book opines that “supply is finally catching up with demand,” particularly as new rigs are blasting off assembly lines. Prices of used motorhomes were up less than 1% to an average of $69,157. Compare that to July 2020, when they sat at $51,574. For towables, the average selling price was $23,654, up 2.1% from June. In 2020, the average price was $18,331. The company notes that the number of rigs going under the gavel was down – 11.1% fewer motorhomes and 2.5% fewer towables, compared to sales in June. The reason? Figure that dealers are hanging onto trade-ins for dear life.
Get those RVs off the streets of Great Falls. If you live in Great Falls, Montana, or are planning an extended visit to that city, you’d better unpack the RV in a hurry once you arrive. A proposed “Large Vehicle Parking Ordinance” would require RVers to get their units off of the streets of Great Falls as soon as they “return from a trip and are unpacked.” The city has received numerous complaints about trailers and campers being left on streets and that have not been moved in months.
Virtual program combines camping fun and photography. Families can learn how camping can connect them with the outdoor world and can also share photos about how those connections are being made Thursday, Aug. 12, during the Missouri Department of Conservation’s virtual program “Discover Nature: Backyard Campout Photo Contest.” The free online program will be from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. and is hosted by MDC Conservation Educator Lyle Whittaker. This program is open to all ages. To register, visit this website. All participants will be emailed a list of games and outdoor activities for families. Get your family off the couch and get outdoors!
What do RVtravel.com readers think?
The results of this poll may surprise you. More than 4,700 of our readers responded. We asked them “Did you buy a special tow vehicle to tow your RV or to tow behind your RV? We never expected these results! What do you think? Did about one-fifth of the readers buy a special vehicle, or did one-fifth not buy a special vehicle? Find out.
With Tony Barthel
In this Truck and Towing Trends column, we’ll look for the latest information about trucks and tow vehicles with insider stories and tips about tow vehicles of all sorts, primarily those of interest to RVers. Among this issue’s topics: Can you tow with Jeep? And how about this: What do a Jeep Gladiator and Ford Bronco have in common that might appeal to motorhome owners? Truck owners, wanters, enthusiasts… click here.
Tow bars for trailers and motorhomes at Amazon. Click
Is this your RV?
If it’s yours and you can prove it to us (send a photo for comparison), tell us here by 9 p.m. Pacific time today, August 8, 2021. If it’s yours you’ll win a $25 Amazon gift certificate.
If this isn’t your RV, send us a photo of your RV (if you haven’t already) for a chance to win in future issues.
Last week three readers claimed their $25 Amazon gift card: Donna Roye of Colonial Heights, Virginia, Steve Hansen of Nashua, New Hampshire, and Lindy Kolthoff of Pittsburg, California.
We’ll have another photo in tomorrow’s RV Daily Tips newsletter (sign up to receive an email alert so you don’t miss the issue or those that follow). Some of these photos are submitted by readers while others were taken by our editors and writers on their travels around the USA.
10 Best-selling products from Amazon on RVtravel.com in July
Here at RVtravel.com we recommend a lot of products to you. If we know something works for our RV or someone else’s RV, we tell you about it. Just about every Amazon ad you see on our website has been tested by one of our staff members or someone we know. If we think something doesn’t work, is poorly made, or is just boring, we won’t recommend it. We like cool stuff, exciting stuff, neat stuff! Here are the top 10 best-selling products on RVtravel.com from Amazon for July.
How long did you dream of owning an RV before first buying one?
Sta-Bil Rust Stopper stops rust and corrosion
Of the many gremlins that attack your RV, like mold, mildew, leaks and black streaks, rust is the gremlin that will attack your hand tools, spare parts, door hinges and other vulnerable metal surfaces and moving parts over time. STA-BIL® Rust Stopper prevents rust and corrosion by protecting metal surfaces with a long-lasting barrier while lubricating parts and tools to stop squeaks and sticking. Learn more in this article.
We’ve also heard …
A year on the road during COVID-19. While most of the U.S. was quarantining during COVID, one family experienced amazing adventures during a year on the road. Read more for lessons learned from the road.
Lassen National Park closed by wildfire. Authorities have shut down Lassen Volcanic National Park because of an explosive Northern California wildfire. Park officials said Thursday that the Dixie Fire is active on the east side of the park. The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection says the wildfire that swept through Greenville, CA, is now the largest single-source wildfire in state history.
Top camping destinations. Find out Yelp’s top RV and campground destinations for 2021. Click here.
As tourists pour into Park County, Wyoming’s Buffalo Bill State Park, administrators saw an opportunity to add some much-needed RV campsites using leftover CARES Act cash. But when they decided to install 40 temporary spaces on the South Fork side of the Buffalo Bill Reservoir, residents of the sleepy neighborhood near the park’s Bartlett Lane day use area were taken by surprise. After a surge of complaints, state park officials have decided to put the plans on hold. Public meetings are scheduled, however, so the issue is not dead.
Just park it anywhere you’d like. Workers in Ketchum and Hailey, Idaho, are allowed to park their RVs on private property and live in them full time. The local ordinances are an innovative answer to the housing shortage in the region. Read about it here.
Don’t rock out without these. Plan on camping at a music festival this fall? Here are 18 essentials you should have.
Authorities in Liberty County, Ohio, are asking for help in identifying a man who was found dead in his travel trailer on July 16. The RVer “had about 1,000 feet of extension cords running from the electrical box to an air conditioning unit in the travel trailer. Some time in the night, the trailer caught on fire and the man succumbed to the smoke,” said Fire Marshal Bill Hergemueller.
The Canadian government has prohibited Americans from taking nonessential trips there since March 2020 because of the Covid-19 pandemic. But that will change tomorrow, August 9, when Canada opens its borders once again to leisure travel from Americans, but only those fully vaccinated.
Camping World has opened its first location in West Virginia in Fairmont. The Fairmont SuperCenter is located off I-79 and Highway 250 at 2386 White Hall Blvd.
RV Park sediment throws mud on agreement. A citizen’s group has filed suit to stop a new RV park development along Torch Lake near Traverse City, MI. The group and developer reached a tentative agreement at a recent hearing, but they are still upset that park development is causing sediment runoff for other property owners. Read all about it here.
If you invested in Winnebago in August, 2011, what would the stock be worth today? According to Yahoo Finance, that $1,000 investment made ten years ago would be worth $8,566.15 as of August 2, 2021 — a 756.62% gain. That does not include dividends. Compare that to the S&P 500’s gain of 240.12% and gold’s return of 5.14% over the same time.
Consumer Reports 9 tips for safer RV Travel. Find out what they are here.
A great use for old RVs. One Texas couple is tackling homelessness by refurbishing RVs for veterans. Read about their undertaking here.
Run your RV A/C with only normal household power.
It’s now possible!
HAVE YOU SEEN THESE STOLEN RVs?
Another storage lot steal. This time Lincoln, Nebraska, was the location of a now-missing 2018 Grand Design travel trailer. On Monday, July 26, somebody driving a maroon, full-size van rolled into the storage lot on Cornhusker Highway near 70th. The driver hopped out, hitched up the rig, and headed out. No other identifying information was provided, but police ask if you know something to give them a call Lincoln, Nebraska, Police at 402-441-6000.
Ed and Daisy have put a lot of heart into upgrading their 2009 Winnebago View motorhome. But somebody broke their hearts and stole their rig from a so-called secure storage facility in Port Saint Lucie, Florida. A sharp-eyed Facebook owner spotted the stolen rig in Austin, Texas, on July 30. By that time, the rig was equipped with a “new” license plate, bearing the tag number DFEZ75. The male driver was wearing a red, white, and blue cowboy hat. Then on August 5, it was spotted again – this time in Lancaster, Texas, a few miles south of Dallas. It was still bearing the same stolen Florida plate. In addition to a custom paint job, from the outside you might spot this rig by a couple of details. It has awnings on both the driver and passenger sides. The roof has solar panels, and the rig is equipped with an automatic TV satellite dish. And if somebody should offer to show you around “their” rig, Ed and Daisy’s rig has new leather dinette upholstery, upgraded faucets, new roll-down double shades, and a new Pioneer Bluetooth radio with a 10.1 color screen, dash mounted. If you spot it, call 9-1-1 first, then call Ed or Daisy at 305-984-9333.
Forrest County, Mississippi, deputies are working to find the suspect who stole a 32-foot 2017 Heartland Prowler Lynx Travel Trailer between 2:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday, August 3. If you have any information, contact the Forrest County Sheriff’s Office at 601-544-7800 or call the Metro Crime Stoppers Hotline number at 601-582-STOP(7867) for Forrest and Lamar Counties, or email Crime Stoppers at email@example.com.
See many more recently stolen RVs. Let’s help find these for their owners and maybe even put the crooks in the slammer. Click here.
Campground and RV Park News
Developments in places where we stay across the USA
Janet Groene reports each week on developments at RV parks and campgrounds across the USA and Canada. There’s a lot of good information here that you can use to plan your travels. Read the current installment of “Campground and RV Park News” here.
????? MYSTERY PRODUCT OF THE DAY ??????
Oh, brother. We need about 10 of these and we’re guessing you probably do too.
RV recalls posted since our last newsletter
• Entegra Coach RVs recalled for potential fuel leak
Check for gas leaks often by using this!
Russ & Tiña De Maris write: “We keep our natural gas leak detector tucked in the door pocket of our tow vehicle so we can check for leaks when we reconnect an LP bottle after filling. We also use it whenever we make up a new connection on a gas line, or ‘think’ we might have a leak. Here’s one you can pick up for a good price with lots of good reviews.”
Did you miss yesterday’s RV Travel?
If so, stories you missed:
• What to do when your RV breaks down: Everything you should know
• RV holding tank treatments: What’s best for the environment?
• Tony Barthel reviews the 2021 Heartland Big Country 3703RK Fifth Wheel
• RVelectricity: First mpg towing tests with F-150 PowerBoost Hybrid
• Wonderful new documentary explains America’s fascination with Airstreams
• A few excellent resources to find a veterinarian for your pet while RVing
• Lost your license? Don’t lose your head!
• Ask Dave: “I have constant problems with my Schwintek slide. Help!”
… and much more
Don’t toss away good batteries!
Most RVers rely on battery-powered devices while on the road, whether flashlights, radios or cameras. But sometimes you just can’t tell how much life a battery has remaining so you toss it to “be sure.” This small, inexpensive tester will alert you in an instant to the condition of a battery, saving you money from needlessly tossing ones with plenty of remaining life! Works on AA, AAA, C, D, 9V and button-type batteries. Learn more or order.
Latest fuel prices
Here are the latest U.S. average prices per gallon of gasoline and diesel fuel as of August 2, 2021:
Regular unleaded gasoline: $3.16 [Calif.: $4.21]
Change from week before: Up 0.02 cents; Change from year before: Up 0.98 cents.
Diesel: $3.37. [Calif.: $4.27]
Change from week before: Up 0.03 cents; Change from year before: Up 0.94 cents.
We have three riddles, all related (but with different answers), for you today:
1) What has lots of eyes, but can’t see?
2) What has one eye, but can’t see?
3) What has many needles, but doesn’t sew?
Do you have a brain teaser you think we should use? Send it to us here.
Roll-up drying rack saves precious kitchen space
It’s almost like this was designed for RVs! This roll-up stainless steel drying rack rolls out right over the top of your sink. No more taking up room on the countertop with a bulky drying rack. This is brilliant! When you’re not using it as a drying rack, it can also be used as a colander to wash fruit and veggies, or as a non-slip trivet mat for hot pots and pans. Learn more or order.
The Perfect Scam Podcast
Every Sunday we present a podcast from AARP about scams and how crooks are stealing your money, often via telemarketing. Their efforts are often most successful with people 65 years and older who fall victim to the scammers’ sophisticated techniques. Here is this week’s episode.
In part 2 of this podcast, Kate realizes her “fiance” is a fraud and opens up to family about the ordeal.
TODAY’S SPECIAL DEALS AT AMAZON! Click here to save.
Upcoming RV shows
Most of the RV shows in 2021 have been canceled. We will restart our show directory feature here as shows begin again. In the meantime, see the frequently updated schedule here.
Fried Green Tomato BLT Sandwich
by Allisha Bordelon from Coushatta, LA
Fried green tomatoes are one of our all-time favorite summertime indulgences! This sandwich really shows off the tomatoes’ flavor by using light panko bread crumbs as a coating. The roasted red pepper mayo is the perfect finishing touch.
‘Tis the fried green tomato season! Yum! Get the recipe.
Did you miss yesterday’s recipe, Chili Mac My Way? Get it here.
Other recipes featured in this week’s Daily Tips Newsletters:
• Citrus & Feta Salad, Homemade Honey-Lime Dressing
• Crock Pot Mango Chicken
• Homemade Chicken Hot Pockets
• Wimpy Mac (that isn’t at all wimpy!)
• Salisbury Steak Meatballs
Microwave cover collapses for easy storage
When heating your food you don’t want to spend 10 minutes later cleaning the splatters inside the microwave. Here’s the solution — perfect for RVers: It pops down flat for easy storage. Lid perforations allow steam to escape to keep food moist. Doubles as a colander! Learn more or order.
Brain teaser answer:
1) A potato
2) A needle
3) A pine tree
Today in History
PLEASE SUPPORT OUR EFFORTS
At RVtravel.com we publish more than 700 newsletters a year. Approximately 30% of our funding comes from the 4 percent of readers who support us with a voluntary subscription. It’s fine if you continue to read for free, but if you believe our hard-working staff’s efforts are worth more than “free”, we humbly ask that you chip in to help us be an ever-better resource for you and other RVers. Even $10 or $15 a year is appreciated. Donate here. All major credit cards, PayPal and checks are accepted.
Publisher: Chuck Woodbury. Editor: Emily Woodbury. Associate editor: Diane McGovern. Senior editors: Russ and Tiña De Maris. Senior writers: Nanci Dixon, Tony Barthel, Mike Gast. Contributors: Mike Sokol, Gail Marsh, Roger Marble, Dave Solberg, Dave Helgeson, Janet Groene, Julianne Crane, Chris Guld, Machelle James, James Raia, Kate Doherty, J.R. Montigel, Clint Norrell, Randall Brink and Chris Epting. Podcast host and producer: Scott Linden. Special projects director: Jessica Sarvis. Moderators: Gary Gilmore, Linda Brady. Financial affairs director: Gail Meyring. IT wrangler: Kim Christiansen.
Honorary Correspondents: Loyal readers who regularly email us leads about news stories and other information and resources that aid our own news-gathering efforts.
Tom and Lois Speirs • Mike Sherman • George Bliss • Steve Barnes • Tom Hart + others who we will add later.
Everything in this newsletter is true to the best of our knowledge. But we occasionally get something wrong. We’re just human! So don’t go spending $10,000 on something we said was good simply because we said so, or fixing something according to what we suggested (check with your own technician first). Maybe we made a mistake. Tips and/or comments in this newsletter are those of the authors and may not reflect the views of RVtravel.com or this newsletter.
RVtravel.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases. Regardless of this potential revenue, unless stated otherwise, we only recommend products or services we believe provide value to our readers.
Editorial (all but news): firstname.lastname@example.org
Editorial (news): email@example.com
Help desk: Contact us.
Mail us at 9792 Edmonds Way, #265, Edmonds, WA 98020.
This newsletter is copyright 2021 by RVtravel.com